For example, there is something unmistakable about the hands of a construction worker or a farmer: hardened, calloused and very strong. The hands of a professional house painter have always given themselves away despite valiant efforts at scrubbing their hands. The hands of a person who operates a keyboard or works at a desk have their own features as well. I don’t recall too many homemaker’s hands where their fingernails were long and perfectly manicured. We can tell a lot about a person simply by looking at and touching their hands.
When I think of looking at hands, I think of my father’s hands. I remember my dad’s hands as being big, wrinkled and leathery but those hands were ones of which I was in awe. I can still remember looking at my dad’s hands when I was small. My hands were so small, smooth and weak compared to his hands. I used to pinch my dad’s skin on his hands and watched with amazement as it slowly, slowly slid back into place. I would then pinch my young skin and it seemed to snap back as if it were made of rubber. “It’s a way of telling how old a person is,” my dad told me. To me, my dad’s hands didn’t communicate age; they communicated love.
I do the same thing now with my grandchildren as I show them how slowly Babu’s or Opa’s skin returns back to normal and how fast their skin snaps back. I tell them that I used to do that with my dad. And I hope that they think not only about how old their grandpa is but how these hands of mine are symbols of love to them.
When I think of hands, especially in this time of year, I often think of another pair of hands: the hands of Jesus. His hands must have been strong and calloused as well from his years working in construction. Yet his hands must have also been very gentle as he laid them on the heads of children and blessed them.
However, what stands out the most about the hands of Jesus is the way they must have looked after his death and resurrection. They were scarred with the clear evidence of nails being painfully driven through them. When Thomas, one of the Twelve disciples, saw those hands, he could only confess, “My Lord and My God!” The hands of Jesus, bruised and abused because of our sin, show tremendous love for us. As we go through this Lenten season and Easter in six weeks, let’s remember Jesus’ hands. Let’s remember how much love can be seen in those hands. However, let’s also remember that the One to whom those hands belong is alive and reigning over all right now in heaven.
Moreover, as we think about Jesus’ hands, let’s also think about our own hands. You see while Jesus’ physical hands are in heaven, he wants us to be using our hands doing the kinds of things that he did with his hands when he was on earth. Our hands, in a very real way, are the hands of Jesus when we hug people, when we brush away a tear, when we help those in need or serve others in some way.
Jesus is using our hands to continue the work he began so powerfully. Let’s ask ourselves what our own hands can be doing to serve others as an expression of our love and gratitude to our Lord Jesus.